Thursday, 15 October 1998

Ann Granger: A Touch of Mortality (1996)

Edition: Headline, 1996
Review number: 137

A Touch of Mortality is another of Ann Granger's well-written Mitchell and Markby crime novels, in much the same vein as the others in the series. It's basically a case of like one, like all. By this point in the series, the relationship between the protagonists is well-established, so there is less about that here and more to establish the puzzle.

Like the others, A Touch of Mortality is a village murder, a successor to those Miss Marple mysteries which were actually set in St Mary Mead. The village setting here is not the gentry and vicars world of Agatha Christie's novels, but a nineties village with modern problems of rural poverty, overspill housing estates and resented outsiders with money.

The central characters in this novel are Sally Caswell and her husband Liam. They have moved from London into the country for peace and quiet for Liam to write a book. She works in an auction house in a local town and he is a biologist at an institute of Oxford University. Because of (now finished) experiments on animals, Liam starts receiving threatening letters from animal rights activists, but it is not until Sally opens a parcel that turns out to be a letter bomb that they involve the police in the person of Alan Markby.

Other than an over-reliance on coincidence common in crime novel series - it's incredibly dangerous to be a friend of Meredith Mitchell - there is nothing to really criticise in this well-written novel.

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